The small courtyard stood in silence against the vast dark sky. The two figures leapt across the high wall like soaring birds, landing effortlessly in the yard. The man and woman were both impressive in their bearings and held their posture gracefully.
Seeing them, Xiaojin's ears seemed to prick up as if getting a fully recharged battery. She was happily running towards them like a gamboling puppy, but was frozen by her sister's death beam of a stare after only a few steps. Xiaojin shuddered.
'I'm finished. Old sis is angry!'
The realization depressed her instantly. She swiftly hid behind Long Qiu, shrinking from sight.
"Brother, why are you here?"
With a little wave of her hand, Long Qiu retrieved the Undead Insect of Needle; the man had already passed out from the pain on the ground. She was even a little surprised, for she only mentioned the address they were at earlier and did not expect to see them show up here.
"Look at the mess you've made, do we have any other choice? What's going on here?" Gu Yu replied grumpily.
Recoiling slightly, Xiao Qiu described what had happened as succinctly as she could.
'I knew it!' The girl was as good a troublemaker as she promised.
Gu Yu heaved a sigh, looked around, and landed his eyes on Li Daoyu. He went up to the old man and cupped his hands. "Old gentleman, nice to meet you."
"Who are you?" Li Daoyu felt as if his sight was filled with a refined splendor, something he had never witnessed on a person before. Greatly shaken inside, he still managed to squeeze out a question.
"I'm Gu Yu. May I ask what sect are you from?"
Before Li Daoyu could reply, Xue Zhao and Chen Yu felt their legs give up as they dropped to the ground one after another. They cried out in surprise, "You are, you are the…"
"Have you heard of me?" Gu Yu found it rather strange.
Xue Zhao's face was drained of all colors as he panted for air, his chubby face covered with sweat. Of course he had been informed of certain things, but these two were supposed to be in Phoenix Mountain right now, which was 50 km away. Why did they show up in Shengtian?
Xiaojin's address of the two suddenly dawned on him at that moment… instantly, 'holy sh*t' was the only words running through his miserable head. So it wasn't a family rivalry after all, but the princess herself getting streetwise (more like breaking the law with her own hands).
Gu Yu did not think much of Xue Zhao's emotional wreck and went on asking, "Old gentleman, are you a member of the Taoist community?"
"Humph, I am under no obligation to tell you!"
His eyes flickering, Li Daoyu would not give a straight answer. To be more precise, he dared not answer that question at all. The Old Patriarch of Infinity was his camouflage for common people, but this man was obviously a fellow Taoist, who could very likely know the truth.
Gu Yu immediately smelt something fishy. The little sister-in-law had struck up the trouble herself and not in the habit of being peremptory, he had arrived with the intention of making peace. Now, seeing Li Daoyu's reaction, he realized there was something behind it.
Xiaozhai took a more straightforward approach. Going up to Chen Yu and lifting him up, she asked, "Are you his pupil?"
"Sort, sort of."
"You should know the answer, then?"
"We, we don't know much ourselves…"
'Old Immortal' was nothing comparing to these two fiendish figures. Chen Yu almost choked on his own tongue as he stammered out all he knew on Li Daoyu. "He only said it was a family inheritance; his grandfather had a master. He didn't teach us anything specific. We were only asked to sit cross-legged and listen to him reading the scripture…"
"Old, Old Patriarch of Infinity or something."
"Old Patriarch of Infinity? Where do I know that name from…"
Xiaozhai thought for a moment before the answer came to her. Turning around with a chuckle, she said, "So, you people have an 'inheritance'."
At these words, Li Daoyu realized things were not looking good for him. He was decisive enough to beat it as soon as he could and turned to run towards the tall wall in the backyard. As remote as this courtyard was, there were still some residential areas around. If he could sneak into the lanes in the dark, there was a good chance he could escape successfully.
From his speed, he looked nothing like a man in his fifties. However, a few steps out, he felt a gust of wind sweeping towards him from his back.
His muscles tensed up immediately at this and he made a few involuntary steps, forcing himself to turn to the left and was just in time to dodge the wind with a strange posture.
"Hm? Gang Steps of Mao Mountain?"
Gu Yu's snatching hand landed in the empty air and he let out a small cry. "Your skill belongs to Mao Mountain, why didn't you admit it?"
"It's none of your business!"
Li Daoyu's face changed color at this. Blue veins stood up on his temples, giving him a ferocious look. With all his strength, he swerved around and made a cleaving motion with an open hand. Then, with another few Gang Steps, he went on running towards the tall wall.
Gu Yu received the incoming hand at the wrist, then his right hand circled around the latter like a snake and thrusted out.
"Thump! Thump! Thump!"
The impact made Li Daoyu lose his balance. Slouching and stumbling forward, he fell into the flowerbed with a thud.
It was the height of summer and the plants had grown quite thick. The bushes enclosing the flowerbed were over one meter high. Once he fell in, the man was covered by all the plantation and was nowhere to be seen.
Gu Yu was about to move in when a bang came from inside. Large clouds of mist were rolling out of nowhere and, as if being inflated, the mist expanded until almost half of the backyard was wrapped in it.
Immediately after that, the roar of a tiger came out of the mist.
A giant golden tiger leapt out of the flowers with its fierce-looking mouth open, threatening to pounce at them with it awe-inspiring manner.
"Why, isn't that…"
Gu Yu blinked, an indescribable look flitted across his face. To others, the golden tiger looked the most vigorous creature, as if it had occupied the peak of a mountain and was ready to step onto the clouds and chase wind. But at the first glance, he knew instantly that this thing was a deceitful trick. There was nothing solid about it at all.
Right away, he halted and breathed in deeply, his inner spiritual essence vibrating like the surface of a drum. He then opened his mouth.
A thin, long white thread spurted out of his mouth and like a flying dragon soaring the sky, it circled around overhead for a few rounds and swooshed down into the mist.
The golden tiger raised its head and howled angrily, as if it was driven mad. However, it remained where it was. Despite its ferocious appearance, it was feeble in essence.
Not far from them, Chen Jiao had long fainted from all the terror, while Xue Zhao and Chen Yu held their eyes wide open, staring at what was going on in the yard. Flustered and frightened as they might be, seeing all the tricks the capable men were using, they were looking forward to see a good fight.
As it turned out, as soon as the white streak was in the mist, everything was cleared away as if the ground had been swept clean by a fierce wind. The golden tiger also disappeared suddenly.
On a second look, Gu Yu had come back to them with Li Daoyu in his hand.
"A deceptive trick as I expected. Such a pity."
Gu Yu put him down and asked curiously, "You were using the skills of Mao Mountain the whole time. Are you one of their disciples?"
Li Daoyu had activated the Golden Tiger Talisman as his last resort to frighten the others away. Now that his trick was defeated instantaneously, he slumped down with a colorless face.
Xiaozhai would not tolerate such waste of her spit and went straight into the meditation room. With the background of her sect, she knew more than enough of this man's ins and outs.
A couple of minutes later, she came out with a case and tossed it to the ground. Xue Zhao and Chen Yu had come to themselves by now. Moving closer, they asked tentatively, "Exactly what is his, um, background?"
"I don't even know what to call you, idiots or someone really lucky. See for yourselves." Xiaozhai opened the case.
The two men crouched down to examine the contents. They first took out a wooden shrine inscribed with the words "Old Patriarch of Infinity, Three Yang and Three Lifetimes". There was also a statue of an old man, which had a rather fresh and alive posture, reminding one of the Grand Supreme Taoist Patriarch, but somewhat inappropriate at the same time.
Other than those, there was also a piece of worn-out drapery made of some yellow cloth, something quite commonly seen in Buddhist temples.
The last things they dug out were two ancient books, "Scripture of Primeval Chaos Three Yang's Befalling on Secular World and Ascending" and "Scripture of Primeval Chaos Three Yang's Actualizing and Bearing Fruit".